FORT MILL, S.C.

Fire crews battle blaze,

dodge exploding fireworks 

Firefighters had to dodge exploding rockets to douse a spectacular fire that destroyed containers of fireworks stored for sale on the Fourth of July.

The blaze provided for an impressive, though sparsely attended show early Thursday as shells and rockets burst through the metal containers, sending colorful showers into the air above the Davey Jones Fireworks and the House of Fireworks stores in Fort Mill.

The York County Sheriff's Office tweeted the fire appeared to spark in a storage unit in the parking lot between the stores. 

 

MADRID

Supertanker with Iranian

oil detained by Gibraltar

Authorities in Gibraltar said they intercepted an Iranian supertanker Thursday that was believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Tehran's crude oil to war-ravaged Syria.

A senior Spanish official said the operation was requested by the United States. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency called the incident "an illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker."

 

CHICAGO

Seven charged for graffiti

at city's 'Bean' sculpture

Chicago authorities say seven people face charges after graffiti was spray-painted on two city landmarks, including the popular metallic sculpture known as "The Bean."

Two 20-year-old men face felony criminal damage to property and were due in bond court Thursday. Four others were charged with criminal trespass to state land. A 17-year-old faces curfew violations.

Authorities say the Millennium Park sculpture was vandalized late Monday and that the suspects were detained a short time later.

 

GENEVA

Venezuela logs 5,300 killings

during security operations

Venezuela's government registered nearly 5,300 killings during security operations last year linked to cases of "resistance to authority," the U.N. human rights chief reported Thursday, denouncing a "shockingly high" number of extrajudicial killings.

Michelle Bachelet's report focusing on the last 18 months follows her trip to the troubled South American country last month and draws upon over 550 interviews conducted by her office with rights defenders, victims, witnesses of rights violations and other sources. She and her teams held nearly 160 meetings with state and other stakeholders.

 

BRUSSELS

EU chief struggles to sell

nominees for top jobs

European Council President Donald Tusk appealed Thursday to hostile lawmakers to endorse a raft of nominees for some of the EU's most coveted jobs amid accusations that he and the bloc's leaders hand-picked the candidates in a series of shady backroom deals.

Two days after one of the longest-ever EU summits — beating even the all-nighters that marked the Greek debt crisis — Tusk struggled to convince the European Parliament of the credentials of candidates chosen more for political reasons than for their competence.

 

 

INDIANOLA, IOWA

Harris clarifies stance on

federally mandated busing

Sen. Kamala Harris on Thursday clarified her position on federally mandated school busing, saying it's only necessary in cases where local governments are actively opposing integration.

Harris said that in the 1960s and '70s, institutions "were literally working against integration of our schools." That's why she supported busing then, she said, but now thinks it should just be a "tool" available to local governments and school districts to address segregation.

"Today it is very rare that we require the courts or the federal government to intervene," Harris told reporters Thursday before a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa.

 

NEW YORK

Joey Chestnut eats

71 hot dogs for title

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan's Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year.

In front of a crowd of fans and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn't quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018.

When asked how he felt after the contest, Chestnut, 35, said, "I feel like I should eat a couple more."

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires